March 24th, 2012

Weave With Clear Intention

In “Common Threads” I talk about my belief that we are all weaving our own “Life Tapestry” – each pattern is made up of hues derived from our life experiences; passionate reds, joyful yellows, peaceful blues, rich greens and the dark shadowy shades of sorrow.  They all combine to create our own personal patterns.  I also believe that we have some control when it comes to what that pattern looks like – we can decide how much joy is woven into our lives, how many little stress knots are created and how smooth or how rough the texture may be.

There will always be situations, people and times that are beyond our control but it’s how we manage those elements of our life that will determine what our pattern  ultimately resembles.  It is my fervent hope that each and every one of us weave off the edges of our tapestries, that we include as many colors as possible and that above all, we weave with clear intention.

March 13th, 2012

The Beauty Within

We’re all beautiful in our own way –

My husband and I recently had the opportunity to visit the Galapagos Islands off the coast of Ecuador.  It was an amazing experience that allowed us to see animals and volcanic formations that have been around for thousands of years.  One particular critter in abundance was the Marine Iguana … it wasn’t the most attractive creature I’ve ever seen, but beauty is in the eye of the beholder, right?

It reminded me that first, we all need to be comfortable in our own skin, and second, we should all respect others for the skin they’re in.  The Iguanas were everywhere, lounging along the black volcanic rock, posed proudly, soaking up the sun.  The males were very protective of their territory and the females were being very selective about the “One” they allowed into their space.  Much like people!

I left with a new found awareness of “self”, a deep respect for nature and a burning desire to do lots more exploring of places off the beaten path.  Get out and enjoy!

August 9th, 2011

Are You Under Water?

Do you feel like you’re under water?  Sometimes there’s so much going on around us we become weighed down by the lack of prioritizing.  All it takes is a few minutes to sit down, take a breath    and make a list (yes, on paper) of all the things, large and small, you need to get done.  Then put a number beside each item based on it’s level of urgency.  “1” is the most urgent –  don’t confuse urgent with important – some things are certainly important but they can wait a day or a week, while others are urgent and time sensitive.   Then arrange your list by number and voile’, you have your priorities!  Now put your list where you can refer to it and start checking things off as you accomplish them – the checking off part is it’s own kind of reward.

Don’t forget to come up for air once in a while – there’s nothing wrong with giving yourself a break between tasks… just don’t get distracted for too long.  Enjoy the rest of your summer!

May 27th, 2011

Tragety Does Not Define Us

Not Alone Recent news reports have been filled with larger than life events – situations that most of us cannot begin to imagine, ranging from hurricanes and floods to earthquakes and wars.  Each report includes at least one heart wrenching story about an individual whose existence as they know it has been horrifically altered.  In our own world, in our own way, many of us have been faced with what we would consider a life altering experience.  It will change us, it will test us, it will stretch us, but we must not allow it to define us.  Strength comes from struggling through adversity – we reach deeper, try harder, count more blessings, and pass along our hard earned lessons to others so that their physical or emotional wounds may be salved.  We are resilient, we are empowered and we are not alone.

February 16th, 2011

Caution – Curves Ahead

Just when you think you’ve figured out your path and you’re building momentum, you encounter all sorts of curves, obstacles and distractions and before you know it, you can’t see the forest for the trees. We all become sidetracked from time to time; some for a blink of an eye and others for what seems like an eternity. In either case, the secret for getting back on track is very similar – stop moving, take a conscientious accounting of where you’ve been and where you are, refocus on your goals and point yourself forward. Take one step at a time – no need to rush. You can even give yourself permission to enjoy your distractions; it’s amazing what you can learn when you’re not trying! At the end of the day, it’s really all about the journey isn’t it? After all, if our paths were straight and predictable, we would be bored in a hurry.

I’ve been meandering for a while and now I’m back on my path – the scenery was great along the way but I’m anxious to arrive at my next destination and plot my future adventures. Where is the new year going to take you?

August 7th, 2010

When The Obvious Isn’t -

The Meeting

It’s still difficult to get my arms around the fact that it’s August – already!  I’ve been doing a fair amount of speaking of late and thought I would share some memorable snippets .   My topic is overcoming adversity and my audiences have been members of organizations attending their regular meetings such as Rotarians, Kiwanians, Lions, Women Who Launch and a plethora of radio programs.

At the close of the program of a recent Lions Club meeting,  a blind woman came to the front table, told me how much she enjoyed my talk and wanted to purchase one of my books.  She said, “I know I can’t see any more but my husband reads to me and he does a splendid job!”  That brought tears to my eyes -

At another, a gentlemen was commenting on a portion of my talk that involved the power of touching people’s lives, both in a good and bad way.  He said an old friend had called to tell him that he was dying and wanted to make sure he knew what a positive impact he had made in his life.  The gentleman I spoke to said he never even knew what he had said or done to impact his friend’s life but was grateful he had made “the List” of special people.  We’re all touching lives, every day – as Catherine Aird said, “we can either be a good example or a horrible warning!” …

July 1st, 2010

Say “THANK YOU!”

Maybe now more than in memorable history we are all acutely aware of how fragile our freedom and democratic way of life has become.   Lessons of the past have been replaced by lessons of the here and now – horrific demonstrations of beliefs passed down through generations and cultures exemplifying stark differences in our view of right and wrong, differences in opinions exploding into the heart wrenching loss of countless fathers, mothers, children and friends alike.  Why do we keep defending our freedom and that of millions of others we’ve never even met knowing the possible consequences?  Because we know the possible consequences – peace, human dignity, honor, respect, living without fear, full bellies, education for all, and helping because it’s the right thing to do.  Our brave military professionals don’t risk it all for the medals; they do it for the greater good, so their families can enjoy the freedoms that so many want and so few enjoy.  Say “THANK YOU” to those who are standing in the line of fire every day defending our right to be an American.  Say “THANK YOU” to their families for sharing the sacrifice they make in the name of peace.

June 30th, 2010

Count Your Blessings

Thank You!

Sunday was a lazy day around our house, until I looked out the window and saw a hillside across the ravine going up in smoke.  I could see a man trying to put the fire out but it was clearly burning faster than he could extinguish.   We weren’t the only ones who called 911 – Within minutes an army of fire fighters from our area were on site dragging what seemed like miles of hose up the hill, a helicopter was hovering over a nearby lake filling its tank with water and a plane with fire retardant was circling in preparation for a pinpoint drop. The fire sped up the rocky brush covered terrain and I could hear the large Sumacs crackle as they fueled the flames. If the wind had shifted, if the fire fighters hadn’t responded so quickly … the tiniest changes in the situation would have put the fire in our backyard.  We watched with grateful admiration long into the night as the fire was extinguished and the serpentine of headlamps descended down the slope and we counted our blessings.  We talked about what really mattered, what was important to us, what we could do without.  We fell asleep holding hands reminding one another to take nothing for granted.

June 28th, 2010

You can make a difference!

I just returned from the 101st Rotary International Convention in Montreal Canada, where I mingled with 20,000 of my philanthropic soul mates.  If I wasn’t already committed to making a difference in the lives of others, the passionate compelling speakers who told their stories and the stories of those whose lives have been forever changed would definitely have made a believer of me!  As it is, I’m more inspired and committed than ever – did you know that thanks to the tireless efforts of hundreds of thousands of Rotarians around the world, we have come within one percentile of wiping out Polio?  We’re digging wells, feeding homeless children, helping women in third world countries start a business and feed a village, teaching kids and adults to read, being first responders in disasters, building schools, hospitals, and spreading global peace.   Get involved, change a life – make a difference!

May 21st, 2010

Lighten Up!

Flamingos_opt

Every garden needs a little whimsy … this is a photo of what I see when I look out of my kitchen window – if these light-hearted wicker flamingos bobbing in the breeze don’t bring a smile to your face, you’re taking life a little too seriously!

We’re surrounded and bombarded with some pretty heady, scary serious issues every day whether it’s international, national, communal or within our immediate family and if we’re not careful, we can allow ourselves to be overshadowed by the doom and gloom.  It’s our responsibility to make sure we give ourselves permission to smile!  I’m not suggesting we don’t embrace our social responsibility but if we want to live longer more contented lives we must also make sure we can all find our own happy place, where ever or with who ever makes sense to us.

So maybe pink flamingos don’t do it for you … what does?